I’ve lived in North Carolina going on 16 years and had no idea that the glorious dish that is shrimp and grits is said to have originated off the coast of the state.
If you’re from up north you might not have heard of grits. I’ve even met southerners that don’t “get” grits, saying that they’re bland, clumpy, or even worse, gritty.
You may have even had….instant grits. *DON DON DON*
As a lifetime southerner, growing up in Oklahoma when I wasn’t living in North Carolina, I genuinely feel that if someone makes you instant grits, they don’t love you. Because smooth, creamy grits are nothing but love. A blank canvas that can turn any breakfast into a yummy bowl of warm, comforting, deliciousness. Grits are stick to your bones Southern food.
Not your typical shrimp and grits recipe
But these aren’t grits.
I know, I know. I can almost hear you saying: “Huh??”. While my love for grits will NEVER die, they aren’t exactly the best if you’re trying to watch your weight, especially if you’re watching your carbs. So if these aren’t grits, what are they?
Rutabaga is a root vegetable, probably most commonly known as a turnip, which has about half the calories and twice the fiber as traditional grits.
Doesn’t that seem ironic?
Love shrimp? Try my Low Carb Shrimp Alfredo!
A vegetable has more fiber than grits? Interesting. Although rutabaga does have more natural sugar than grits, it has about 6% of the sodium of traditional grits. One cup of rutabaga also contains 53% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Win!
I first considered this swap after I saw Becky post about it with her Spicy Shrimp and Kale with Creamy Rutabaga .
One of the best things about making recipe swaps like this is that saving calories in one area, like swapping rutabaga for the grits, allows you to indulge in other areas.
So for this recipe I used bacon instead of ham like many healthy shrimp and grits recipes.
Not center cut bacon either, the real deal.
I also used a good amount of cheese with room for more if you desire! I suspect you’ll find that this recipe contains enough but hey, if you want it to be more ooey and gooey, be my guest!
Let me know if you’re a southerner that’s tried this recipe. I’m dying to know what you think!
Cajun shrimp and grits turned low carb friendly with the use of an often forgotten root vegetable, rutabaga. Perfect for anyone that’s gluten free, paleo or on the Ketogenic diet.
For the “Grits”
- 4 medium rutabagas
- ¼ unsweetened original almond milk
- ¼ cup (1 oz) medium or mild cheddar*
- ¼ cup (1 oz) Havarti cheese
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- *optional tsp or two of grated Parmesan cheese
For the Shrimp
- 12 oz of raw shrimp, veins and tails removed
- 2 slices of bacon
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel your rutabagas and cut them into one inch pieces. Place them into a large saucepan full of water and a bit of salt. Place on the stove on high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the pieces are tender.
- While the rutabaga is cooking, cook bacon in a skillet. Drain fat but reserve about half a teaspoon to saute the shrimp in. Once cooked, turn off the heat and set bacon aside on a paper towel to absorb the fat.
- Once the rutabagas are tender, drain them in a colander and set aside. Place the saucepan back on the burner on medium heat. Add your milk and boil, letting them warm but not boil.
- When the milk is warm, add the rutabagas and cheeses. Stir a little, to combine, then blend with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. Turn the heat down to low to keep your “grits” warm.
- Place the same skillet you made the bacon in on medium high heat and add shrimp and spices. Saute until the shrimp are pink and have curled, 5-7 minutes. At the end, add about ¼ cup of water* to the skillet to deglaze the pan, removing any brown bits from cooking the shrimp and the bacon.
- Serve shrimp immediately on top of the rutabaga with crumbled bacon topping.
You could also use chicken stock for more flavor but I didn’t have any.
Keywords: low carb, keto, shrimp, gluten free